Friday, December 15, 2006
S!Millions of illegal immigrants toil in America's factories, farms, homes and restaurants. Few get caught. Even fewer employers get charged with a crime. A southern California fence-building company became an exception to the rule Thursday when it pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court to knowingly hiring illegal immigrants from 1999 to 2005. Golden State Fence Co. agreed to pay a $4.7 million fine, one of the largest for immigration violations. Even more striking: Two company executives pleaded guilty to felony charges of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Mel Kay, 64, the company's founder, chairman and president, also agreed to pay a $200,000 fine and Michael McLaughlin, 42, manager of the company's Oceanside office, agreed to pay $100,000, bringing the combined financial penalty to $5 million. Golden State Fence Company built fences at military bases and along the border in San Diego. Click here for the story.
It previously had been reported (click here) that Golden State Fence Co. had won a contract in the late 1990s to help build the San Diego border fence with Mexico to thwart illegal immigration, federal records show. Federal authorities said there is no indication that Golden State Fence Co. hired undocumented workers on the fence project.
For the NPR story on this case, click here.